Why Is My Pit Boss Smoker Not Getting Hot Enough?

If you’re having trouble getting your Pit Boss smoker up to the proper temperature, you’re not alone. This is a common issue that many Pit Boss users face at some point.


This cover the main reasons why a Pit Boss smoker may not be heating up properly and provide troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue. Key points include:

  • Checking the flame broiler position, pellet condition, chimney cap, and grill location
  • Vacuuming the firepot to clear air holes
  • Using an insulated blanket in cold weather
  • Verifying connections between the fan, auger, and control board
  • Troubleshooting other common issues like temperature swings, lack of smoke, and igniter problems

Flame Broiler Position and Pellet Condition

One of the first things to check if your Pit Boss isn’t getting hot enough is the position of the flame broiler. It should be higher on the left side, installed on the brackets inside the barrel. The slide cover also needs to be closed when the smoker lid is shut.

Next, check the condition of your wood pellets. They should snap crisply and have a slightly shiny exterior. If the pellets are soft or look dull, replace them with fresh pellets. Pit Boss or Louisiana Grills brand pellets are recommended for optimal performance. Always store pellets in an airtight container to protect them from moisture.

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Chimney Cap and Grill Location

If your Pit Boss has a chimney cap, make sure it is raised all the way up for proper air intake. This allows sufficient airflow to keep the fire burning strong.

Grill placement is also important for temperature control. Ensure your Pit Boss is at least 36″ away from any combustible constructions. Avoid using it in areas exposed to wind and outside elements as much as possible.

Vacuum the Firepot

Over time, ash can build up in the firepot and block the air holes. This restricts airflow and makes it harder for the grill to reach high temperatures. Routinely vacuum out the firepot to keep the air holes clear of debris.

Use an Insulated Blanket in Cold Weather

If you want to use your Pit Boss in very cold outside temperatures, consider using an insulated grill blanket. Pit Boss makes custom-fit blankets for their 700, 800, 1000, and 1100 series grills. The insulation helps retain heat so the smoker can get hotter in chilly conditions.

Check Component Connections

If those steps don’t resolve the issue, check the wiring and connections between key components:

  • Fan: Yellow wires connect the fan to the control board. Unplug the grill, remove the hopper, and make sure these wires are firmly attached on both ends.
  • Auger: Red wires connect the auger and control board. Detach the hopper access panel and verify these wires are properly connected.
  • Hot Rod: Check the connections for the hot rod. If it isn’t working, the grill won’t heat properly. Consider replacing it if faulty.
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Other Issues and Troubleshooting

In addition to not heating up enough, Pit Boss smokers can experience other problems that impact performance. Here are a few more issues to watch out for and how to troubleshoot them:

  • Temperature Swings: If your grill’s temperature fluctuates widely from the set point, check the P-setting. A higher P-setting causes the auger to run less frequently, leading to bigger swings. Adjust the P-setting down to reduce temperature volatility.
  • Lack of Smoke: If you’re not seeing much smoke from your grill, first check that the pellets are dry and of good quality. Wet or poor-quality pellets will produce less smoke. Also, ensure the grill is running in the ideal 220-250°F range for smoking. Higher temperatures produce less visible smoke.
  • Igniter Not Working: If the igniter isn’t getting hot, check its wiring connections to the control board. Inspect the igniter itself for damage or wear and replace it if needed.
  • Auger Jams: Auger jams prevent pellets from feeding into the firepot, leading to heating issues. Most often, jams are caused by damp pellets swelling inside the auger tube. Unclog the auger by removing it from the grill and clearing out any compacted material.
  • Display Not Working: If the control panel display won’t light up, first make sure the grill is plugged into a working outlet and check for any tripped GFCI breakers. Inspect the power cord for damage. If those components are fine, there may be a problem with the control board itself, which will require repair or replacement.


There are several reasons why your Pit Boss smoker may not be getting hot enough, ranging from improperly positioned components to faulty wiring connections. Follow the troubleshooting steps outlined above to diagnose and resolve the most common culprits. If other issues like temperature swings, lack of smoke, or auger jams occur, additional maintenance may be needed. If problems persist, don’t hesitate to contact Pit Boss customer support for further advice and assistance in getting your smoker running properly again.